What causes Weight Gain and increases Food Cravings?

Ultra processed foods include breads, potato chips, sugar-sweetened drinks, processed meats, french fries, ready-meals, biscuits and cakes.

Characteristics that identify Ultra Processed Foods include :

  • They are made in factories 
  • with extracts from meat or plants
  • with over 10 ingredients and usually in plastic-type packaging
  • where some or all of the following ingredients are added
    • thickeners, gums, glues, emulsifiers, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, sweeteners and flavour enhancers. 

How do the ingredients affect us?

These added chemicals disrupt your gut bacteria, making you hungrier and as a result you gain weight. Additionally, there has been a sharp rise in the number of people with gut issues since I started practicing in 2011. While gluten and dairy are often the suspected culprits, maybe it is the way our food is being processed that is causing the bloating, indigestion, cravings and weight gain. For example, I eat bread in France and feel well but the similar looking Irish breads and pastries upset my gut. 

Studying a Food Label

Ultra Processed Foods are shaped and structured into looking like the original food but are not, they are reconstituted. In the image below you will see that only 54% of the product is chicken and has margarine (hydrogenated fat) and emulsifiers added.

“Shaped” Chicken with hydrogenated fats and emulsifiers

In a small study run by Kevin Hall at the National Institutes of Health, 2 groups who were fed the exact same calories, sugars, carbohydrates and salt had different outcomes. The groups with the ultra processed foods reported greater hunger and ate 200 more calories per day. Investigators suspect that these chemicals make people want more food.

Food scientists are employed by Industry to make food incredibly tasty using additives, synthetic chemicals. Let’s take a look at preservatives and additives.

Look at the Labels, the best before date is a give-away

The longer the shelf life, the greater the content of preservatives added to the food. E200 & E202 were reviewed in 2019 by the EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings (FAF Panel). Following the review they guided 11 mg /kg body weight per day. I have never seen the amount used stated on a label. Furthermore, no one assesses your total daily food intake of preservatives. If you are eating multiple food items that contain preservatives, how do you know your overall preservative load?

The 2019 test on rats at mid & high dose levels of E200 & E202 affected reproductive organ weights, liver weights and cholesterol levels. Read Here : https://bit.ly/3f0ODIA

E621: Monosodium Glutamate, a flavour enhancer. This article noted additives as a “public health concern” and “consumption of MSG at low dosage was associated with development of excessive reactive oxygen species generation and apoptotic processes in blood leukocytes of rats”. Read here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30516512/

What you can do to protect your Health

Become aware. Look at labels but take your eye glasses with you. The writing on packages is ridiculously small especially when multiple languages are used.

Buy whole food. What I mean by that is food as close as possible to its original state. Then learn how to make food tasty, using natural fresh and dried spices, bone broths, pink salt and follow a recipe. Practice it a few times. Practice makes perfect.

Buy Raw and add Natural Flavours

Comments are closed.